The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Social Partners’ Forum took place in Hanoi on October 24, focusing on employment and social welfare as the key to sustainable and comprehensive development.

The forum attracted 100 delegates from regional and international organisations that represent employees, such as the ASEAN Trade Union Confederation (ASETUC), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

When addressing the function, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) of Vietnam Nguyen Thanh Hoa said that the global economic and financial crisis has posed many challenges to employment, social security and sustainable development in almost every country worldwide.

The determination and efforts of each economy are essential but not enough, said Hoa, adding that it requires the coordination of policies and cooperation at both regional and global levels.

According to Hoa, since the 2008 world economic crisis, more than 40 million workers have lost their jobs and the number of people unemployed in 2013 is forecast to be even higher than this year. For ASEM countries, there are a series of common challenges, including the need to generate more sustainable jobs and address the current unemployment situation, especially for the young people, the Deputy Minister said.

In addition to efforts made by governments, social partners play a very important role in contributing and implementing initiatives to expand ASEM cooperation to overcome the impacts of the crisis and nurture recovery and sustainable development, he stressed.

The delegates discussed policies that create jobs for young and vulnerable people and their agenda also focused on future challenges to sustainable employment, social welfare, and the social responsibilities of businesses and safety in the workplace.

Recommendations made during the forum will be discussed at the 4 th ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting.-VNA